My manager decided that we should send out an HTML survey on our Intranet. The intranet is all in CFML, so I wrote a script that would tally the results of the survey and write them to the database that contained all of the user login information.

Hmm... Since I already have a database with user info, and I know what email address a response is coming from, maybe I should also track who has responded? Of course I should. There are political factions in the building that want to see us (the MIS department) fail and look stupid.

Since there are many people in the building that know how to view source, I hid the tracking variables inside the response variables. If the question asked, "How many times a week...?" the answers would be

  • <option value="12">1</option>
  • <option value="22">2</option>
  • <option value="32">3</option>

And so on, where the extra number is the xth digit of the user number I assign to each user, x being the number of questions that can't be blank. Sice the user number is arbitrary and no one knows their's, it is almost invisible. Cool, right?

When we demoed the survey to senior management, (I was dragged into the meeting to field technical questions), someone asked, "Is this going to be anonymous?"
My manager answered quickly, "Yes. We have no way of knowing who is answering the questions."

Well, of course I went and took out all of the code that handled that. It took me nearly as long to extricate it as it did to write it, since it was all mashed up with the bits that needed to stay in there.

We sent out the survey, then the next day my manager asks me if we could see who was saying what.
I said, "No. You told Management we couldn't, so I took it all out."
"Oh," He said. "I just wanted them to think that. I should have told you that I did want to see who was making what comments."

Moral:
Use the comment function of your favorite language instead of the delete button.
And tell your employees when you are lying to Management.

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